The dashing success of Hermes Allen at Cheltenham in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novice Hurdle on Friday was our highlight of the week.
He showed us nothing at home before his romp round Stratford on his debut for us and didn’t jump great that day either. But he has woken up since then, really switched himself on and you can hardly stop him at the end of the gallop now. It’s as if he is a different horse.
Hermes Allen is hugely talented, made all the running at Cheltenham and stretched clear from a decent field up the hill to win by nine lengths without being challenged.
He is all class and looks ideal for the Challow Hurdle at Newbury on New Year’s Eve and his owners would love to bring him back to the Festival in March.
Dixon Cove gave us a fine start to the week with a fluent victory at Hereford on Tuesday before the imposing Rubaud hacked up at Taunton on Thursday.
Il Ridoto ran well to finish fourth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday. The three in front of him had all had a prep run and Il Ridoto, who found the ground quick enough and had a good blow afterwards, will be sharper in a month’s time when he returns to the course for the Racing Post Gold Cup. He will improve.
I’m mystified by the performance of Blueking d’Oroux who was pulled up by Harry Cobden in the juvenile hurdle on Saturday. He had been giving us the right signals at home and had worked pleasingly with useful stable mates in a racecourse gallop.
But after leading until past half-way he stopped very quickly turning down the hill. He was 100% on Sunday morning and the tests we’ve run so far have all been clear. Perhaps something will come to light in the next few days.
Sonigino was another to find the ground quicker than ideal in the Greatwood Hurdle. I’m still kicking myself for running him for a second time at Chepstow where he won so easily he was raised 10lbs by the handicapper but hindsight is a wonderful thing!! I’ll freshen him up now before making any firm plans.
Irish Hill ended a frustrating couple of days for the yard by just failing to get up in a tight finish to the Salmon Spray Hurdle at Fontwell.
With rain forecast in the coming days we will again be busy this week starting with some decent chances at Exeter on Monday.
Hitman heads to Haydock on Saturday and I will leave Frodon in the Betfair Chase and will have a look at the race before making up my mind. In addition Complete Unknown is pencilled in for the £125,000 Betfair Exchange Stayers Handicap Hurdle while Tahmuras will have an entry in the Listed Novice Hurdle.
We will also be sending a team to Ascot on Saturday and entries include Pic D’Orhy, Saint Calvados and Thyme White.
For the latest news on all my runners in Saturday please do check out my Betfair column which goes live early on Friday afternoon.